Thursday, June 24, 2021
Timothy Egan to Be Hemingway Distinguished Lecturer
Monday, April 26, 2021


Timothy Egan, who brought the Dust Bowl to life in his book “The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl,” will speak at The Community Library on Thursday, July 8.

Egan will speak at 7 p.m. July 8 as the library’s 5th annual Hemingway Distinguished Lecturer.

The lecture, which will be held outside on the library’s lawn, will be free. But advance registration is required to reserve a seat and will open at 7 a.m. Monday, May 3, on the library’s website at

Registration will initially be limited to 120 seats but may expand if the health and safety of the speaker, library staff and attendees can be maintained.

A waitlist will automatically begin when the initial capacity is reached. The event will also be livestreamed via the library’s website for those who wish to participate from home.

In addition to writing about the Dust Bowl, Egan trained his focus on the 1910 fire that destroyed towns and timber through much of Northern Idaho in the blink of an eye in the New York Times Bestseller “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America.”

The book, a must read for Idahoans, tells of how the senator whose name is on the Sawtooth’s iconic Mount Heyburn railed against the idea of national forests because he didn’t think the federal government should have control over land in the West. And it tells the heroic story of Edward Pulaski, who saved all but five of his 45-man crew by leading them to safety in an abandoned prospector’s mine that can still be seen today outside Wallace.

Egan also authored “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward S. Curtis,” which was awarded the 2013 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction; “The New York Times bestseller “Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero,” and “The Good Rain: Across Time and Terrain in the Pacific Northwest, winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award.

Most recently, he penned, “A Pilgrimage to Eternity,” a New York Times Notable Book of 2020, which asks the core questions of humanity as Egan—a lapsed but searching Catholic--follows an ancient pilgrimage route from Canterbury to Rome.

As a Times correspondent, Egan also shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2001 with a team of reporters for the series, “How Race is Lived in America.” The series examined how Americans were pulling together and pulling apart two generations after the end of legal discrimination.

The Hemingway Distinguished Lecture is presented each July by The Community Library, honoring the month of Ernest Hemingway’s birth and death. Previous lectures have been presented by Terry Tempest Williams, Anthony Doerr, Richard Blanco and Sherman Alexie.

“Our goal for the Hemingway Distinguished Lecture each year is to bring our community into conversation with one of the great writers of our time,” says Jenny Emery Davidson, the Library’s executive director. “Someone who, through language, helps us to understand the world and ourselves better. Timothy Egan exemplifies nuance, depth, and powerful storytelling in his writing about complex histories and current issues.”

Pre-sales of Egan’s books are available through Iconoclast Books and will be signed by Egan and available for pickup several days after the lecture.


During his visit Timothy Egan will also participate in a two-hour lunch on Friday, July 9, with eight local high school teens who are interested in discussing social and political issues, the environment and writing. The lunch will be hosted outdoors t the Ernest and Mary Hemingway House in Ketchum.

Ahead of the luncheon the students will be invited to choose one of Egan’s recent opinion articles from the New York Times, then meet during the week of June 28 over pizza to discuss the articles, evaluate how an opinion piece is written and formulate questions to pose to Egan.

They also will be invited to pitch their ideas for op-ed articles to Egan.

Interested students can email their name and contact information, along with an optional statement of interest, to the Library’s programs and education manager Martha Williams at by June 21. Students selected to meet with Egan will also receive two tickets to the outdoor lecture.



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